As part of efforts to significantly improve upon quality health care services delivery, the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has adopted innovative mobile services technology to reach out to every Ghanaian.
The initiative, which would be officially out-doored by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on December 19, includes the use of text messaging short code to ease the processing of NHIS documents and services.
Mr Oswald Essuah-Mensah, Deputy Director of Corporate Affairs disclosed this when officials of his outfit paid a courtesy call on the Deputy Central Regional Minister in Cape Coast on Monday.
The call was to brief the Minister and the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) on the new technological innovation being embarked upon by the Authority to ease its administrative and clientele services.
He was accompanied by Mr Ben Kusi, Director Membership and Regional Operations, Mr Stephen Bewong and Mr Daniel Blankson, Deputy Directors, Management and Information System (MIS) and Mr Francis Frempong, Regional Director among others.
Explaining operations of the technology, Mr Essuah-Mensah said it involves the use of short code *842*10# on all networks in the country.It gives clients options to check policy validity, renewal of membership, benefit packages, and the over 500 medicine list for only one Cedi per every renewal.
The innovation, which is free for pregnant women and the “poorest-of-the-poor”, according to him, would create an effortless and faceless simplicity in accessing NHIS services across the country.
“This innovation will enormously ease the travel distance, the hassle and time wasting, and trooping to centres, shorten administrative procedures and improve the data base management of the organization.”
“It will drastically reduce the penchant for falsification of unwarranted claims, which is one of the challenges, to the smooth operation of the scheme,” he reiterated. Touching on its viability and accessibility due to lack of telephone reception in some parts of the country, Mr Essuah-Mensah stated that they were in talks with the telecommunication companies to effectively improve their coverage across the country.
He announced that the intervention had been piloted in the West Mamprusi District of the Northern Region with success and assured that their personnel had been trained to offer quality services to all clients. In addition to that, plans were far advance to retool it’s offices in the about 275 districts with the needed tools and logistics to increase coverage from the current 37 percent to over 70 percent.
This will help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) on health before 2030 and improve the health and welfare of the citizenry and expressed the resolve of the Authority to engage all key stakeholders particularly the traditional and religious leaders to solicit their support to ensure success.
Mr Adjei Baffour applauded the Authority for the bold initiative and urged the team to use pragmatic measures to increase the subscriber base of the Scheme.